TSA Will Permit Knives, Golf Clubs on U.S. Planes. Implicit admissions their bans did nothing to enhance safety.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will let people carry small pocketknives onto passenger planes for the first time since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, along with golf clubs, hockey sticks and plastic Wiffle Ball-style bats.
The agency will permit knives with retractable blades shorter than 6 centimeters (2.36 inches) and narrower than 1/2 inch, TSA Administrator John Pistole said today at an aviation security conference in Brooklyn. The change, to conform with international rules, takes effect April 25.
Apparently wiffle ball bats remain dangerous tools used by terrorists for the next 7 weeks. But terrorists will no longer be using them after that.
Passengers will also be allowed to board flights with some other items that are currently prohibited, including sticks used to play lacrosse, billiards and hockey, ski poles and as many as two golf clubs, Pistole said.
The TSA would like you to choose your clubs wisely. You may bring on only two. So you are advised to consult with your caddy prior to packing for your trip.
Changes removing items like sporting goods from the prohibited list are based on recommendations from a TSA working group that’s trying to weed out commonly confiscated items that don’t present a security threat, agency spokesman David Castelveter said.
“These are popular items we see regularly,” Castelveter said. “They don’t present a risk to transportation security.”
I want to applaud this. I really do. But it’s taken better than a decade to get here, even acknowledging that the items weren’t a security threat all along.
And to the Transportation Workers Union that’s going out there today decrying the risk to the cabin that these items will present, the change conforms to international standards and we haven’t seen a decade worth of wiffle ball bat attacks.
And TSA Administrator Pistole makes the very sensible point that banning low risk items makes us less safe.
“The idea that we have to look for, to find and then somehow resolve whatever that prohibited item is — that takes time and effort,” Pistole said. “That may detract us from that item that could lead to a catastrophic failure on an aircraft.”
And yet some low risk items will continue to be banned for sentimental reasons.
Box cutters, like those used by the Sept. 11 terrorists, and razor blades will still be banned.
“The sensitivity to those who were attacked on 9/11 still resonates strongly,” Pistole said. “There’s just too much emotion associated with them, particularly the box cutters.”
The agency also is carving out two exceptions to its ban on most baseball and softball bats. It will allow souvenir, novelty baseball bats less than 24 inches long and will permit lightweight plastic bats even if they’re more than 2 feet long (61 centimeters).